Archive for the ‘Revelation’ Category

Revelation 1.17a says, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.”

Verses 12-16 is a fairly impressive description of the glorified Christ. I could get into a description of what each of the different elements of Christ’s appearance represents. But guess what? I won’t! We can save that for another day. Instead I want to take a brief look at the result of being in the presence of Christ.

Fear and falling down both seem to play a major role when it comes to seeing things that are heavenly. Throughout all of Scripture, when angels appear to people they usually start their messages with the words “fear not”. In fact that is what Christ says to John in the end of verse 17. He says, “do not be afraid…”

So why do people fear when they see the glorified Christ, or angels? Why is it that they tend to fall on the ground?
Do you remember when Moses was in the presence of God? He saw the backside of the Lord and when the people saw him he was forced to cover his face because he was shining from the glory of the Lord! They were terrified of Moses. Something was different about him. They feared Moses for the same reason people in Scripture fear angels. The glory of the Lord was evident. People (and angels) are changed in the presence of the Lord. Something happens and it is noticeable to the world around them.

For this reason, you and I cannot spend time with God in prayer and in His word and not be changed. God’s presence demands change. A reaction will occur. Moses glowed, John fell down, and the angels invoked fear! What kind of change has occurred in your life lately due to your proximately with the Lord? If you can’t site any change then maybe it is time to purposely change!

Lack of change in a believer screams lack of involvement with their Lord. Being in the presence of God affects people. How affected are you and how effective are you?

Revelation 1.10a says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…”

The Apostle John was an old man when he wrote the book Revelation. Most scholars agree that the book of Revelation was penned somewhere right around A.D. 96. With this in mind we can assume that if John was 20ish when Christ called him to follow him around A.D. 27 or A.D. 30. If this is the case John was an old man when he was sent to Patmos.

Patmos where John was sent was not an island resort. Patmos is a barren, volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, at its longest point it was about 10 miles long and 5-6 miles wide, and located some 40 miles offshore. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, exile to such islands was a common form of punishment in the first century. It is believed that those sent were not simply marooned but were put to work in harsh conditions. Emperor Domitian is said have exiled his own niece to another island for a reason that was politically motivated.

John was also living knowing that his closest friends had been murdered for their stance on Christ. He was segregated from other believers and probably suffered much mental anguish.

So here we find John: friendless, old, exhausted, enduring slave labor, harsh conditions, second rate food and probably not an overly comfortable. He had given his life to Christ and this is how he ended up. He had probable cause to become bitter and disillusioned or at least we might assume this. After all he had taken Jesus’ mother in as his own mother and this is how he gets repayed.

Yet John does not focus on his condition or frustrations when Sunday morning roles along. He sets aside time to spend with the Lord. Revelation 1.10 says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” Now we could debate what it means to be in the Spirit but that is not my intent. My intent is to show that John was focused on the Lord and had purposed to set aside time to spend with his Lord on the Lord’s Day. What an example!

Consider the early church…

In the first century Jewish believers worshiped on a work day. The Jews Sabbath falls on a Saturday and this is the day that all society paused and focused on Jehovah. Yet with the believers worship occurred on the first day of the week: the day Christ conquered sin and death.

Because Sabbath had already occurred, the Jewish people went back to work on Sunday. As a result the Jewish believers met early before the markets were open and the fields needed to be plowed. Most likely they met even before the sun began to rise. They became known a cult to many as they were said to meet in secret in the dark and sing strange songs and some claimed they embraced cannibalism because of their apparent obsession with eating the body and the blood (communion).

My point is this: convenience was not an option for the early church. They were tired and became social outcasts: yet they worshipped. John was tired, old, and not really accountable to other Christians to worship (he was in exile). Yet John worshipped.

Worship for John and many early church believers was a matter of commitment not convenience. I wonder how many Christians in modern day America would actually go to church if the only service was offered at 5 AM on a work day. After all people sleep in and miss church every Sunday. They skip for sporting events, hunting, and the list goes on.

So let me end with this question. Which word best describes your worship experience; commitment or convenience?

     Revelation 1.3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
     Revelation 1.3 speaks to the very heart of what most believers struggle with. We know the truth. We can proclaim what we know with ease. We know words like sanctification, justification, grace, regeneration, and propitiation. They are part of our vocabulary when dialoguing with other like-minded believers. Many believers do not have much of a problem when it comes to reading and hearing the words of Scripture. They hear weekly sermons and Sunday school lessons at church, are taught at a small group, and regularly hear teaching on the local Christian radio station. Some believers read their Bible several times a week. Some believers read their Bible every day of the week. Yet something is missing…
     What is missing is found in the second half this verse where it says, “and heed the things which are written in it.” Now I know some who read this will say this is talking about Revelation and the vision that John received while exiled on the island of Patmos. While I agree with this argument that this is the context of the verse, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the topic of reading, hearing, and heeding is a principle that is found throughout all of Scripture.
     James hits on the topic of coupling heeding with reading. In James 1.22 he wrote, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” In James 2.18 he wrote, “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’” What is James saying? If you fail to  live out what you say you believe (have read and heard) then you are delusional!
     Perhaps rather than asking believers how much they have been reading out of God’s Word we should ask how much they have been heeding.

Read it and heed it!

In John 14.15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

I am currently trying to write out practical applications on the book of Revelation. In doing so I am not trying to explain every jot and tiddle but to help show that even an intimidating book like Revelation is jam packed with practical truths that we can apply to every day life.  So I would ask that you follow my newest entries that will be posted weekly on my thoughts from the book of Revelation. My prayer is that you will be both blessed and challenged!

If you are a member of my Sunday morning Discipleship Hour class I would strongly encourage your interaction with these posts. 

God Bless!

~Pastor Jon~